PGA tour legend Tiger Woods will pass on a guaranteed £2.5 million (about $3.25 million) and skip the European Tour’s inaugural event in Saudi Arabia next year amid the ongoing outcry over the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
It is not known if Woods is skipping the event in protest, but according to The Telegraph, the 14-time major winner was approached to participate over the summer and has since notified the relevant parties that he does not plan to play in Saudi Arabia.
PGA tour stars Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Paul Casey are all reportedly signed up to play in the event in Saudi Arabia. The guaranteed £2.5 million is reportedly the most Woods has ever been offered to play in a foreign tournament.
Since the killing, a handful of major companies and individuals pulled out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia known as ‘Davos in the Desert’ – an event hosted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had been criticized heavily by Khashoggi before his death.
It is not known if Tiger Woods is skipping the event in protest, but according to The Telegraph , the 14-time major winner was approached to participate over the summer and has since notified the relevant parties that he does not plan to play in Saudi Arabia
Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City will host the first European PGA Tour event in Saudi Arabia next year, but it will do so without Tiger Woods
Saudi officials had been denying any involvement when Khashoggi initially disappeared on October 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. Officials then suggested the columnist and critic of the Prince was accidentally killed in a failed attempt to return him to the Kingdom, before a Saudi prosecutor admitted that Khashoggi’s murder was, in fact, premeditated.
Tennis superstar Roger Federer, a friend of Woods, recently revealed that he turned down a $1 million offer to play in an exhibition in Saudi Arabia in December.
Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were to play each other at the event, but Djokovic announced Friday that he would be dropping out because of an injury to Nadal.
Both Novak Djokovic (left) and Roger Federer (right) will skip an upcoming event in Saudi Arabia, but while the former is doing so because of an injury to his opponent, Federer has not specified why he turned down $1 million to play in the kingdom
Federer, though, did not specify the murder of Khashoggi as his motivating factor.
Nor, for that matter, did WWE wrestler John Cena, who recently dropped out of an event in Saudi Arabia despite originally being slated to compete in Jeddah.
The WWE announced a 10-year partnership with Saudi Arabia in February as part of the country’s Vision 2030, which is an effort towards social and economic reform that includes several sporting events, such as the aforementioned golf and tennis competitions.
Woods previously played in countries with questionable human rights records, such as China and the United Arab Emirates.
Although he had struggled in recent years, Woods was invited to play in Saudi Arabia during a resurgent 2018 campaign in which he won his first tournament since 2013.
John Cena (right) competes with Triple H (left) during the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Greatest Royal Rumble event in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on April 27